Photo Gallery / Recap: The Dirt Million – For The Fans, By The Fans

Even the hounds were ready to see the first ever Dirt Million.

This week was a historic one in the dirt racing world. The highly anticipated Dirt Million took place which boasted the second highest payday ever to hit dirt late model racing. We saw Earl Pearson Jr walk away with a cool $202,000. In the spectrum of dirt racing checks that falls second all time behind the one-million-dollar payday Donnie Moran took home from Eldora Speedway and legendary promoter Earl Baltes.

Left: The grandstands were packed at Mansfield Motor Speedway for the Dirt Million. Right: Fans were able to buy their favorite drivers merchandise on the midway.

While the payday may be legendary, perhaps the more legendary aspect is how the winners share and race purse became so large. Simply put, it was the fans.

Left: Devin Moran battles with prelim night winners Darrell Lanigan and Jonathan Davenport. Right: Max Blair didn't need his reward points provisional as he took a heat race checkered flag to a standing ovation from the Mansfield crowd.

Cody Sommer had an idea and a vision in his back pocket to host an event where the fans fund the purse. He was so adamant about the fans-funded concept he purchased an entire track to make it happen! Sommer leased to purchase Mansfield Motor Speedway in hopes of his vision becoming reality, and this year it did.

Left: Mason Ziegler. Right: Earl Person Jr and Dale McDowell talk before the races.

This event was more historic than people may realize. Heck, Scott Bloomquist got a Twitter account because of this event, what could be more historic than that! Simply put the Dirt Million was an event that fans funded and drivers promoted.

Photo Gallery of the event:

Photo gallery

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Fans contributed to the purse by buying tickets, shirts, and other event merchandise up for grabs. There was event apparel for sale that you could get for a few dollars, all the way up to the winning driver’s helmet, gloves, and side panel available for thousands of dollars. There was also memorabilia available that every driver who started the 100-lap main event would sign. Sommer announced in the drivers meeting that there was upwards of 250 items purchased that the starting field needed to sign before driver introductions. The fans also could help drivers out in the form of buying pit passes, tires and other items adding points to the drivers reward total.

Chad Simpson, Ricky Thorton Jr, Doug Drown and Chub Frank race for position during heat race actionDrivers were leveraged to help promote the event in the form of starting provisionals. A high and competitive car count was anticipated so drivers took to social media vying for a spot in the top 4 rewards points.

Reward points were given by way of Twitter, Facebook, banner ads on their website and fan purchases. The rewards program began twenty-five weeks before the cutoff date giving fans something to watch and keep an eye on leading up to the event. Then there was a wholesale approach to the reward points program which Wadsworth OH driver Ben Mott used by way of a corporate outing, which gained him a top spot in the program at the last minute, ultimately gaining him an entry in the $4000 to start main event.

Left: Josh Richards navigates turn one. Right: Local racer Benjamin Mott locked into the feature before he unloaded Friday. He hosted a corporate outing for the franchisees in his territory for the tool company he works for, jumping him to the top four in rewards points.

After it was all said and done the fans and drivers got to be apart of one of the most compelling finishes of the year. The last ten laps saw four cars under a blanket with Bobby Pierce and Earl Pearson Jr out front swapping the lead. Pearson would ultimately go on to lead the last few laps to take the historic payday.

All in all the first version of the Dirt Million can be considered a success.

Left: AZ driver Ricky Thorton Jr., was in a transfer position during his B-main when he suffered a flat coming to the checkered. Right: Mike Marlar would suffer a broken throttle spring leading to some contact with Bobby Pierce.

Dirt Million Race Results:

Heat 1 (8 Laps – Winner transfers): 1. Tyler Erb; 2. Earl Pearson Jr; 3. Nick Hoffman; 4. Dan Angelicchio; 5. Chris Simpson; 6. Billy Moyer Jr.

Heat 2 (8 Laps – Winner transfers): 1. Shannon Babb; 2. Ricky Thornton Jr; 3. Doug Drown; 4. Zack Dohm; 5. Chub Frank; 6. Chad Simpson; 7. Mike Wonderling; 8. Tyler Horst; 9. Steve Sabo.

Heat 3 (8 Laps – Winner transfers): 1. Chase Junghans; 2. Scott Bloomquist; 3. Bobby Pierce; 4. Kyle Bronson; 5. Brandon Overton; 6. Austin Rettig; 7. Dave Hornikel; 8. Ryan Scott.

Heat 4 (8 Laps – Winner transfers): 1. Brian Birkhofer; 2. Rick Eckert; 3. Matt Irey; 4. Dave Hess Jr; 5. Chris Hackett; 6. Jason Miller; 7. Jared Landers.

Heat 5 (8 Laps – Winner transfers): 1. Max Blair; 2. Jimmy Owens; 3. Frank Heckenast Jr; 4. Kent Robinson; 5. Jared Miley; 6. Mike Maresca; 7. Nick Davis; 8. Ben Mott.

Heat 6 (8 Laps – Winner transfers): 1. Dale McDowell; 2. Chris Ferguson; 3. Eddie Carrier Jr; 4. Ryan Markham; 5. Jackie Boggs; 6. Colton Flinner; 7. Russ Frohnapfel.

Heat 7 (8 Laps – Winner transfers): 1. Brandon Sheppard; 2. Steve Casebolt; 3. RJ Conley; 4. Tyler Carpenter; 5. Ryan Unzicker; 6. Gordy Gundaker.

Heat 8 (8 Laps – Winner transfers): 1. Gregg Satterlee; 2. Dennis Erb Jr; 3. Jeep VanWormer; 4. Zachary McMillan; 5. Jason Feger; 6. Boom Briggs.

Dash (8 Laps-Race finish sets the top 8 positions for the Dirt Million main event): 1. Don O’Neal; 2. Mason Zeigler; 3. Ricky Weiss; 4. Devin Moran; 5. Josh Richards; 6. Mike Marlar; 7. Jonathan Davenport; 8. Darrell Lanigan.

B Main 1: 1. Earl Pearson Jr; 2. Nick Hoffman; 3. Doug Drown; 4. Ricky Thornton Jr; 5. Zack Dohm; 6. Dan Angelicchio; 7. Billy Moyer Jr; 8. Chub Frank; 9. Tyler Horst; 10. Steve Sabo; 11. Chris Simpson; 12. Mike Wonderling.

B Main 2: 1. Scott Bloomquist; 2. Bobby Pierce; 3. Rick Eckert; 4. Dave Hess Jr; 5. Matt Irey; 6. Kyle Bronson; 7. Jason Miller; 8. Austin Rettig; 9. Dave Hornikel; 10. Chris Hackett; 11. Ryan Scott; 12. Brandon Overton.

B Main 3: 1. Jimmy Owens; 2. Chris Ferguson; 3. Frank Heckenast Jr; 4. Eddie Carrier Jr; 5. Jared Miley; 6. Ryan Markham; 7. Kent Robinson; 8. Jackie Boggs; 9. Mike Maresca; 10. Nick Davis; 11. Colton Flinner; 12. Ben Mott.

B Main 4: 1. Dennis Erb Jr; 2. Steve Casebolt; 3. Jeep VanWormer; 4. RJ Conley; 5. Tyler Carpenter; 6. Jason Feger; 7. Zachary McMillan; 8. Ryan Unzicker; 9. Boom Briggs; 10. Gordy Gundaker.

Earl Pearson Jr in victory lane.

Main Event (100 Laps): 1.Earl Pearson Jr – $203,739; 2. Bobby Pierce – $41,287; 3. Gregg Satterlee – $20,993; 4. Ricky Weiss – $12,176; 5. Scott Bloomquist – $8,917; 6. Brandon Sheppard – $7,711; 7. Steve Casebolt – $7,305; 8. Dale McDowell – $6,899; 9. Darrell Lanigan – $7,397; 10. Max Blair – $6,494; 11. Mike Marlar – $6,494; 12. Tyler Erb – $6,088; 13. Shannon Babb – $5,885; 14. Dennis Erb Jr – $6,382; 15. Brian Birkhofer – $5,479; 16. Tyler Horst – $5,276; 17. Jimmy Owens – $5,873; 18. Chris Ferguson – $4,870; 19. Josh Richards – $5,464; 20. Ben Mott – $4,424; 21. Nick Hoffman – $4,383; 22. Matt Irey – $4,302; 23. Mason Zeigler – $4,939; 24. Jonathan Davenport – $4,958; 25. Chase Junghans – $4,058; 26. Don O’Neal – $4,858; 27. Tyler Carpenter – $4,058; 28. Devin Moran – $4,058.

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